DALLAS » The Fort Worth Police Officers Association called Black Lives Matter “an organization that chooses to MURDER American law enforcement officers” over the weekend.
The police group, which represents more than 1,500 police officers and officials serving Dallas’ largest neighbor, later deleted the language from its Facebook post — but not before thousands read and shared the message.
The Fort Worth association first condemned Black Lives Matter — a loosely organized black liberation movement that opposes police violence — on Sunday afternoon, as it launched a boycott of Pandora Radio for embracing the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag after last week’s massacre of police in downtown Dallas.
“We urge law enforcement supporters around the world to DELETE the Pandora Radio app from their devices,” the officers group posted to its official Facebook page. “Pandora Radio openly supports an organization that chooses to kill American law enforcement officers.”
A few minutes later, the post was edited in all-caps: Black Lives Matter became “an organization that chooses to MURDER American law enforcement officers.”
Black Lives Matter — both the national organization and the local protest movements it inspires — has been widely criticized since a lone shooter opened fire on Dallas police officers who were protecting a rally against police killings last week. Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani even called Black Lives Matter “inherently racist” on national TV over the weekend.
But the Fort Worth Police Officers Association appears to be the first major police organization to straight up accuse Black Lives Matter of killing cops — crimes that the movement’s founders have publicly condemned.
Hundreds of readers endorsed the boycott post on Sunday afternoon, and more than 3,000 had shared it across Facebook by the late evening, when the Fort Worth Police Officers Association edited it again — removing all references to killing, murder and Black Lives Matter.
The post now ends on a note of togetherness, echoing the healing rhetoric of police in other cities: “We should stand together in UNITY in difficult times like this in our nation. May God bless our first responders and those who support them.”
“We decided to remove any part of the post that could create insensitivity as we simply want unity in our communities,” the Fort Worth Police Officer Association’s communications director, Officer Anthony White, told The Dallas Morning News today.
“However, as an association that represents police officers, we will not support a business or organization that has shown to conduct and/or support violent acts toward those who wear a uniform and serve our communities.”
Fort Worth police officials, who do not directly control what the officers association does, have not responded to questions about the group’s post.
When asked what led his group to accuse Black Lives Matter of killing police, White answered: “There have been individuals who have murdered police officers that have affiliation with BLM.”
He linked to a news article about a Black Lives Matter supporter — not a member of the organization itself — who has been accused of killing a state trooper in Kentucky.
The “MURDER” line wasn’t the only viral post abruptly removed from the Fort Worth Police Officers Association’s Facebook page over the weekend.
The police group also shared a screen shot from an obscure, unverified Facebook account dubbed “Black Lives Matter Dallas Texas Chapter,” which called the slayings of five Dallas officers “Justified!!!”
“These killer cops been killing our Black Men and Women every day and getting away with it,” reads the post, which has since disappeared from Facebook.
That screen shot, too, went viral — inciting anger as it spread from the Fort Worth police group’s page across Facebook. However, Black Lives Matter has no chapter in Dallas, according to the group’s website. The administrator of “Black Lives Matter Dallas Texas” did not respond when asked how the Facebook group is affiliated with the national Black Lives Matter organization.
The Fort Worth Police Officers Association’s deleted the screen shot from its page after a reader questioned the group’s authenticity.
©2016 The Dallas Morning News